University of Southern California

USC Benefits

Leaving USC?

You can continue some of your USC benefits at your expense. Continuing medical coverage is available for a limited time, but you must act within stated deadlines (within 60 days) in order to preserve the right to continue your coverage. Details on that and other benefits below.

Medical and dental plans

Your active employee coverage ends on the last day of the month in which your employment ends, provided premiums have been paid. You may elect to continue your coverage for up to 18 months under the provisions of the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, more commonly known as COBRA (see explanation at right).

2014 COBRA rates

Plan Monthly rate (includes 2% administrative fee)
Employee $ 407.84
Employee + adult $ 897.23
Employee + child(ren) $ 815.71
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 1,223.53
Anthem Blue Cross HMO
Employee $ 400.47
Employee + adult $ 945.11
Employee + child(ren) $ 845.01
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 1,253.48
USC Network Medical Plan
Employee $ 578.22
Employee + adult $ 1,254.17
Employee + child(ren) $ 1,009.27
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 1,624.29
Vision Service Plan
Employee $ 7.77
Employee + adult $ 10.77
Employee + child(ren) $ 10.98
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 17.69
Delta Dental
Employee $ 51.90
Employee + adult $ 111.57
Employee + child(ren) $ 93.41
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 155.67
United Concordia
Employee $ 16.93
Employee + adult $ 30.48
Employee + child(ren) $ 31.33
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 42.04

2014 hospital union COBRA rates

Plan Monthly rate (includes 2% administrative fee)
MyChoice HMO
Employee $ 464.57
Employee + adult $ 1,022.04
Employee + child(ren) $ 836.26
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 1,440.14
MyChoice PPO 200 (CNA)
Employee $ 712.25
Employee + adult $ 1,566.90
Employee + child(ren) $ 1,282.02
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 2,207.91
MyChoice PPO 400 (NUHW)
Employee $ 684.26
Employee + adult $ 1,505.34
Employee + child(ren) $ 1,231.67
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 2,121.17
MyChoice PPO 800
Employee $ 554.61
Employee + adult $ 1,220.10
Employee + child(ren) $ 998.27
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 1,719.23
Vision Service Plan
Employee $ 9.79
Employee + adult $ 13.59
Employee + child(ren) $ 13.83
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 22.40
CIGNA Preventive
Employee $ 35.62
Employee + adult $ 70.34
Employee + child(ren) $ 95.74
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 143.82
CIGNA Comprehensive
Employee $ 48.10
Employee + adult $ 95.27
Employee + child(ren) $ 115.28
Employee + adult + child(ren) $ 179.56

WageWorks, USC's COBRA administrator, will send a COBRA election packet to your home. You must return the required paperwork postmarked within 60 days of the date of that mailing, or your termination date, whichever is later—if you fail to do so, you forfeit the COBRA opportunity. The fastest way to ensure that your COBRA coverage is activated is to use WageWorks' online enrollment process. You can elect COBRA and set up payment at

To obtain COBRA coverage, you must pay the full premium (in other words, the employee+employer contribution) plus a 2% administrative fee. (HMO participants who fully exhaust their initial 18 months of COBRA coverage may be eligible for an additional 18 months under Cal COBRA AB1401.)

Note that while by law you have 60 days to elect COBRA, your coverage will not be activated until your COBRA election is actually made and the premium payment has been applied/cleared. Until then, you are not covered. Once you have elected and paid, your COBRA coverage will be activated back to the original effective date, which is the first of the following month after your active employee coverage ended.

Insurance (Minnesota Life and AFLAC cancer expense protection)

Coverage ends on the last day of the month in which you terminate, provided premiums have been paid. For life insurance, Minnesota Life will automatically send you information regarding the continuation options available (conversion and portability). Premiums may be higher than those paid by active staff and faculty. For cancer expense insurance, you have 31 days to apply for continuation, subject to AFLAC's restrictions. For details call (800) 992-3522.

Insurance (long term care)

Coverage through payroll deduction ends the last day of the month in which you terminate, provided premiums have been paid. You can continue coverage by paying the vendor directly—your premium remains the same. Contact the vendor within 31 days of termination to convert to direct billing. If you enrolled with Genworth, call (800) 416-3624; if you have a John Hancock plan, call (888) 524-6167.

USC Retirement Plan

Your contribution to the USC Retirement Savings Program will be taken from your final paycheck and the university's matching contribution will be made. Supplemental contributions are not taken automatically; contact Benefits before your final check is prepared for a calculation of how much, if any, you are eligible to contribute. Contact your investment company regarding options and repayment of any outstanding loans.

USC Hospital 401(k) retirement plan

Your contribution to the hospital 401(k) plan will be taken from your final paycheck. Contact Fidelity at (800) 343-0860 regarding your options and repayment of any outstanding loans.

Non-exempt staff retirement plan

The freezing of this plan on July 1, 2007 has no effect on terminating employees. If you terminated employment after June 30, 2007 and the present actuarial value of your benefit is less than $5,000 when you terminate employment, you will need to take action regarding your benefit. You may either receive a lump sum payment (as taxable income with a possible early distribution penalty of 10%) or rollover the benefit to an IRA or your new employer's retirement plan.

If you do not take action regarding your benefit, we will cash out your money to you if the value is $1,000 or less. If the value is $1,001 to $5,000, we will rollover your money into an IRA. If the value is more than $5,000, you cannot receive payment or rollover the benefit. Your retirement benefit will be available to you upon retirement as early as age 55, although a reduction in the monthly amount will apply until age 65, when full benefit is available.

Flexible spending account (FSA)

You may submit claims for eligible dependent care services incurred through the end of the calendar year in which you terminate. You will be reimbursed up to the amount remaining in your account. Health care expenses submitted for reimbursement must be incurred (i.e. the services provided) prior to your termination unless you elect COBRA continuation of your health care FSA on an after-tax basis. If you have a FSA debit card, it will be deactivated as of your termination date.

Hyatt Legal Plans

You must enroll for "portable enrollment" within 30 days of your last day of employment. Call (800) 821-6400 to apply. Enrollment is prepaid by lump sum equal to 30x the plan's monthly rate, and will remain effective for 30 months (no refunds allowed). Plan details remain the same as those for active employees. Visit to review.

Tuition assistance/Tuition Exchange

If you leave during a semester, you will receive a prorated fee bill and are responsible for paying the cost of tuition for the remainder of the semester. Employees hired prior to July 1, 2011 who have accrued 15 years of eligible service before termination should contact Benefits to discuss possible dependent eligibility for tuition assistance.

Child care

The university subsidy for USC Child Care Programs ends on the last day of the month in which you terminate. If possible, 30 days' notice should be provided to your child care administrative office. Call (213) 743-2446 at UPC or (323) 442-3333 at HSC for more information.


Contact Transportation at (213) 740-3575 at UPC or (323) 442-1201 at HSC to cancel your parking deduction. In order to cancel your parking permit you need to return the permit to the Transportation office.

Vacation pay

Discuss unused vacation days with your supervisor. You will receive a check for any unused vacation days.

Payroll deductions

Review your most recent paycheck for a detailed list of your current deductions. Make arrangements to continue payments after termination for deductions such as: USC Credit Union loans; School of Dentistry payment plans; Fidelity, Prudential or Vanguard retirement loans; and ticket office purchases.

Contributions for all current benefits will be deducted from your paycheck as well as USC Retirement Plan, or your contribution to the hospital 401(k). In addition, other deductions such as parking citations, charges on your USCard and University Club card, wage assignments, applicable taxable tuition assistance benefits, etc. will be deducted automatically from your final paycheck.

Severance pay

Only staff employees who have been terminated due to layoff or reorganization are eligible for severance pay. Excluded are: those who were employed for a specific period of time only (e.g., in positions offered in writing as fixed-term or funded by contracts and grants where an end date was communicated); faculty; those claiming student status (including teaching and research assistants); and staff who have resigned, been terminated for cause, have retired, or who have abandoned their jobs. Staff employees who receive additional pay or benefits beyond that allowed by university policy will be required to enter into a Settlement Agreement and General Release with the university.

University property

Identify university property and keys in your possession. For assistance with checkout procedures in your department, consult your supervisor or department administrator. You may turn in your USCard to your department or to Benefits.

Final paycheck

You will receive your final paycheck from your department on your last day of work. Bring your university ID card or another form of identification. Final checks are not direct-deposited to your bank account.

Change of address

You may update your address at any time by email to Benefits at or to Payroll at

In this section

What is COBRA?

The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives workers who lose their health benefits (and their families) the right to continue group health benefits for limited periods of time under certain circumstances such as voluntary or involuntary job loss, reduction in the hours worked, transition between jobs, death, divorce, and other life events.

USC's COBRA administrator is WageWorks. For information, contact them at (877) 502-6272.


    Right away
  • Contact the investment company handling your retirement to discuss options
  • Contact USC Transportation about scheduling termination of your parking permit
  • Consider how your termination date will affect Tuition Assistance/Tuition Exchange benefits and what your financial responsibility may be for tuition remaining in semester
  • Contact your home department coordinator about turning in university property and to discuss final paycheck details, including which deductions will be taken
  • Within 31 days:
  • Decide whether to continue life, AD&D, cancer expense protection, and long term care insurance
  • Within 60 days:
  • Decide whether to continue health insurance through COBRA
  • By the end of the calendar year in which you terminate:
  • Submit flexible spending claims for dependent care (health care accounts end on your termination date unless extended by COBRA)
  • By April 15 of the year following your termination:
  • Email address change information to or


Unemployment insurance provides benefit payments to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own (as determined under state law). The university pays the entire cost of this insurance, which covers all employees.

Benefit payments are made by the state's Employment Development Department. The state determines the amount of the payments based on the worker's income while employed—the highest quarter earnings in the 12 months preceding the claim. For claims filed after January 1, 2006, the maximum weekly benefit is $450 based on highest quarter earnings of $11,700 or more.

If you separate from university employment and wish to collect unemployment benefits, you must contact the California Employment Development Department.

Questions about unemployment insurance coverage? Call USC Risk Management at (213) 740-6203. Information about how to file a claim and the benefit payment schedule is available on the California Employment Development Department website at